Sunday, July 23, 2006

"fiasco" in iraq, and another day, another four dozen deaths

Today's Washington Post excerpts from an upcoming book about Iraq, aptly titled "Fiasco".

It's a depressing read, as is everything about Iraq that has the least bit of intellectual honesty. US military leaders were fundamentally unprepared for an insurgency. In August 2003 when the insurgency really began with the bombing of Jordan's Embassy in Iraq, military officers had an email debate about how to improve interrogation techniques, discussing how to hit prisoners and use electric shocks, dogs and snakes to elicit "better" information -- in other words, officers discussing what would become policy at Abu Ghraib (and only enlisted reservists would be punished, but that's another gripe). One unnamed Army major in the 501st Military Intelligence Battalion proved to be both wise and (unfortunately) prescient, writing "We need to take a deep breath and remember who we are. It comes down to standards of right and wrong -- something we cannot just put aside when we find it inconvenient, any more than we can declare that we will 'take no prisoners' and therefore shoot those who surrender to us simply because we find prisoners inconvenient."

Anyway, US military tactics -- torture and the massive use of patrols and firepower -- ended up increasing opposition to our presence, and although the military has begun to wise up (and some classic anti-insurgency texts from Vietnam and Algeria are becoming must-reads in Army circles), we and Iraq's people are still dealing with our mistakes. Witness the latest atrocities killing at least 50 Iraqis in Baghdad and Kirkuk (remember, Kirkuk is in a "safe" part of Iraq).

5 Comments:

Blogger The Contractor said...

Having worked the cease fire accord between the Government of Sudan (GOS)in Southern Sudan/2000with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA; contracted with USAID to implement the 1st Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Paktia Province, Afghanistan/2003; and, most recently worked the EOC in LSA Anaconda/Balad, Iraq, the following is noted:

(1) In almost every case where a tactical/strategic decision had to be made, Dept of State and Dept of Defense fought eachother, even over the most basic of matters; this was especially the case in Afghanistan during the early days of reconstruction initiatives.

(2) Bremer with agreement of Rumsfelt's office tragically made strategic errors, in particular, the disbandment of the Iraq military infrasture which is now the cornerstone (as alleged) to retrograde/withdrawl of American and coalition troops. Had Bremer, et al, chosen to take the worthy advice of seasoned veterans of the Middle East, perhaps, and just perhaps, the end state of this ongoing pathetic failure could of been avoided.

(3) Both State and Defense are over crowded with designer clothed government career "lifer's" who would rather say nothing than speak up for the good of the country/mission and thus the prevention of death and injuries of our soldieers-these are the same peoplewho will move to cut funding for the care of our soldiers who will live with our government's mistakes throughout the remainder of respective lives.

(4) With the Israel-Lebanon issue now at hand, many other initiative worldwide are wanning. This challenge will affect our presence in Iraq...if the Shia rise up against the US/coalition in the south, the MSR (main supply route) through Kuwait for the ports maybe disrupted-to the point that resupply could become the main challenge for US logisitics.

And, what of people like President Bush (on vacation in Texas today, 23 JULY), Chaney and all the others that spun the facts from WMD to "freedom in the Middle East"? Like most, I sincerely hope they think about the tragic losses of now over 2500 American and literally thousands of war wounded each and every night (emphasis added).

These are indeed challenging times and the leadership as I view and experienced it up front and close prove that leadership in Washington requires the attention of every American.

10:01 AM  
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3:22 PM  

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